The first-ever talks between the sides follow months of delays and U.S. pressure on both. They’re a key condition of the U.S.-Taliban peace deal, which calls for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops. President Trump, who campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan, is eager to see progress ahead of elections in November.
Who is participating in the talks?
One of the most discussed concerns going into the negotiations is the relative lack of unity within the team representing the government, civil society and religious institutions outside of Taliban control.
The team, led by former intelligence chief Masoom Stanikzai, is made up of a diverse group of people who have only recently begun working together. Some are government officials; others are members of rival political parties and religious representatives, and most are civil society members. The team includes four women, among them Fawzia Koofi, who survived an assassination attempt last